The first of my Shifty and Sam picture books introduce two dogs far from perfect. But Shifty and Sam do have big, warm hearts, and the minute they see the error of their ways, they change.
The inspiration for the first book came about following a trip to the vet with my dog, Dylan…
Dylan had barely bounded me in through the door when he spied a teddy in the window. Dylan loves teddies. VERY much. So, quite without thinking, he’d snaffled the bear in a shot! Cue: vigorous (loveable) shaking on Dylan’s part, and a rainstorm of slobber all over the unsuspecting public.
“DYLAN! Drop the BEAR!” I cried. And Dylan (for once) actually did as he was told.
I couldn’t believe it. “Wow, Dylan!” I beamed. “Clever you!”
Bad move. For now Dylan was SO happy that I was happy, he just couldn’t contain his joy. So he promptly did a wee (and a big one at that) all over the vet’s nice clean floor…
(Not the actual ‘puddle’!)
I felt the colour rise in my cheeks. That hot, pink blush.
But then it happened.
Dylan looked at me with big brown beautiful eyes.
He was SORRY. He wasn’t bad. He just hadn’t thought it through. And we all make mistakes sometimes, right?
‘Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam’ was then written with ‘being sorry’ in mind.
At first the pair scheme…
and try to rob…
But then, when made to think through the consequences of their actions, they are very sorry. Their robbing is making everyone SAD…
The cute dog crying BUCKETS moment!
So they hang up their swag bags for a life of baking CUPCAKES instead!
After I had written the story, it was then Steven’s turn to bring it to life. But it’s such a nail-biting moment in those seconds before you see your characters for the first time. Will they look like you imagined them? If not, how will you feel? Will you love them? Or, or… what if you DON’T? Eeek!
I needn’t have worried because Steven has created the most lovable duo ever. Even if I do resemble Sam in size. (Just a bit!)
For me they’ll always be a dream-team to write for. Why? Because I LOVE them!